Anti-death penalty advocates say Clemons case raises questions

The discovery of long-hidden evidence in a 19-year old murder case fuels hopes of death penalty opponents that the state will declare a moratorium on executions for two years. Reginald Clemons, Marlin Gray, and two others were convicted in 1993 of the rapes and murders of two St. Louis sisters who were thrown off a St. Louis bridge into the Mississippi River. Gray was executed five years ago. Clemons would have been executed last June but a stay was issued and a special judge is reviewing the case.

A few days ago, three lab reports and some physical evidence was discovered in the St. Louis police crime lab and says the evidence had been disclosed to the defense.

Executive Director Donnie Morehouse of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty says the discovery nine months after Clemons was supposed to die carries a message. “What has been going on and why has that evidence been sitting there and why has it not come forward and why it’s just now at this time come forward. I think those are questions legislators should be asking,” he says.

The Attorney General wants a quick court ruling on how this information should be processed. Morehouse’s group and other death penalty organizations had planned before the evidence was found to have a rally at the Capitol next week. Morehouse says the revelations about the evidence will give more weight to the push for a moratorium. [Story by Missourinet’s Bob Priddy]

AUDIO Interviw with Donnie Morehouse (8 min MP3)